A familiar premise

I’m really getting tired of the “men are clueless, lazy, stupid oafs” premise, so common to advertisements, TV shows, movies, and pop culture in general. As just one of many examples of this, Samsung recently unveiled a viral ad centering around this totally hilarious and unique narrative. Here’s the plot summary: A woman walks into the living room and finds her husband sitting on the couch with a dazed grin, watching TV in a stupor while shoveling chips into his mouth. She then pulls out a contraption, plugs it into his back, and suddenly he springs off the sofa and becomes an intelligent, helpful, well groomed gentleman. The joke is that this gadget, if used on your husband, can cause him to “evolve.”

Now, imagine the same advertisement, except with the roles reversed. Imagine that the husband comes in the house after a long day’s work to find his wife zoned out, binging on candy and ice cream, sitting under a blanket of gossip magazines while watching soap operas. Imagine he uses a device to make her “evolve” into a better wife and woman. The outrage from an ad like that would be enough to put Samsung out of business. But painting men as worthless unevolved morons? Hey, just standard operating procedure. No big deal.

Ok, it’s just a Samsung commercial, who cares? Well, I don’t care about it specifically. I do however care about the pervasive cultural atmosphere that has made the emasculation and degradation of men not only acceptable but profitable. No doubt there are men in this country who, in fact, really are horribly stupid couch potatoes. There are plenty of women who fit that label as well. I don’t think the propensity to be a leech and a buffoon is necessarily more prevalent amongst one gender or another.

Look, I’ve been outspoken in my defense of women. I’ve written many times about the difficult job of being a mother and a wife. I’ve said, and I still say, that women are generally superior in grace and beauty, both physically and spiritually. The entire concept of chivalry rests on this point. But now I’d like to take a second to speak up for the fellas. Powerful forces in our society have spent the last 40 years attempting to neuter men. They’ve worked tirelessly to remove every unique and positive quality inherent to masculinity. Of course, in order for this emasculation to take hold, many men had to be complacent and cooperative with the process throughout the past several decades. Men, therefore, are not victims. Manhood is the victim. Now we’re left with a culture that has no clear idea about what a man is supposed to be and how he is supposed to act. Young boys are told they shouldn’t be lazy and apathetic, but if they say they want to be a leader and a provider they’re called “sexist” and “old fashioned.” Don’t sit back but don’t take charge. Don’t be a parasite but don’t be a provider. Don’t acknowledge women as being different but do respect women for their differences. Don’t be submissive but don’t be aggressive. And so on and so on, one nonsensical conflicting message after another. And as our kids are trying to make heads or tails of this lunacy, they turn on the TV to see men depicted as cartoonish frat boys.

I reject all of this. I’m lucky, I happen to have been blessed with a Dad who showed me a great example of what a real man is. A man is a leader. He is the head of his household. And as the head, he serves and protects his wife and his children. He is intelligent. He shows courage. He works. He doesn’t complain. He is a moral example for his family. He is their spiritual rock and foundation. He shoulders a heavy burden for those he loves, he never expects to be congratulated for it. And, nowadays, he never will be. That’s a man. He might also drink beer and watch TV sometimes, but neither of those activities define him.

But I’m not crazy. I don’t expect this version, the true version, of masculinity to appear on television anytime soon.

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10 Responses to A familiar premise

  1. beriggs says:

    The undermining of men, especially as fathers undermines the fatherhood of God, who though he is pure spirit, with no gender, is presented to us as Father, and all that used to entail. When I point this out to the young adults that I teach at our parish, they are “shaken into realization” of what our culture presents to them.
    For myself, I no longer bash men on a general or individual level. I am in awe of men. In my family, they raise wheat, build decks on houses, figure out how to solve myriad problems and take care of a huge portion of life. I pray for those men who are ridiculed.

  2. Paula Smith says:

    Matt, you have a wisdom beyond your years. That is a gift from the Lord. Truly. My husband gets really irritated about those commercials, too, and rightfully so. Our society has no clue what true manhood really is, but then again, they don’t look in the right places for the Answer, either.

  3. I’ve noticed this trend of wife rolling her eyes at ‘slob’ husband too, personally I find it offensive that those behind the advertising, be they male or female, still have so little regard for the intelligence of women as consumers. It’s just a reverse of the “at least the beer isn’t burnt” advert from the dark ages.

  4. Finicky Cat says:

    It is tragic that we’re not likely to see a true version of masculinity to appear on television anytime soon…I simply refuse to watch tv anymore…but at least there are still some of us who can thank God for all of the men who show it to us in real life! My husband, dad, brother, father-in-law, brother-in-law – I am so blessed – and so are my three sons to have these men to surround them as they grow up.

  5. Glen says:

    Men have been treating women like slaves and chatels for centuries.

    Now we’ve thankfully moved on from that and if women want to take the piss out of us dudes in a commercial I’m man enough to take that and think we should be able to laugh at ourselves.

    I don’t think we should be getting indignant and warning TV ad executives they should leave men alone or you will hit them with your man purse you pussy.

    • Joseph Riani says:

      So just because men I’ve never met and never had a chance to stand up to made some bad moves / choices all men should “just suck it up.” When one gender suffers, both do. Sitting back laughing while a wrong doing is committed whether instigated or not is NOT justice. The only justice is the truth.

  6. JSantorelli says:

    “I’ve said, and I still say, that women are generally superior in grace and beauty, both physically and spiritually. The entire concept of chivalry rests on this point.”

    Herein lies your problem and why us men face the problems we are. For starters, spiritually there is no male and female in Christ (Gallations 3:28). Neither you nor me are qualified to judge the spirit.

    You and I are both straight males I assume so of coarse it invokes a powerful emotion to see a beautiful woman. Physically, beauty fades. I don’t mean to be cruel to grandma but I doubt few men stand in awe of grannies fabulous legs and womanly figure. Also, have you ever heard a group of straight “on the prowl” females. I have a cousin that is mesmerized by my neighbor approximately her age. I’m pretty sure she’d think he is “superior in beauty” compared to her girl friends. Your statement there is muddled with perspective issues.

    Lastly, chivalry is a real problem. Believe me, I would be the first in inline to jettison feminism but they do have a point when it comes to that behavior. I do not go out of my way to treat women different than men. Either I’m nice to everyone or no one. Many women have developed a sense of entitlement thanks to this practice and when men fail to live up to these women’s demands we become the subject of ridicule. There is a whole site devoted to “Husband Bashing” for instance. Too many dads put their little girls on a pedestal without ascribing a wink of responsibility to them and now they expect hubby to do the same. God made women to help, not to just expect men to do everything and criticize us when we make a mistake. Chivalry worked in the past because taking care of children was a huge sacrifice that women could not really escape from. Today however there are many outlets for a woman to check her mother hat at the door (i.e. abortion, contraception, child care, etc). People cannot be given a privilege unless they accept the responsibility that comes with it. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

    In term “superior grace,” do you not think a man providing regardless of the attacks on his manhood is equal in measure to whatever you are ascribing to women? My ex-fiancee used to break down in tears at things I’d laugh off without a sweat even though they caused me an extreme amount of grief. That isn’t worth something? If we all took time to sit down and cry the world would stop. Maybe guys should stop being so self-deprecating and have a little self-respect for their masculinity. It is is no way inferior to femininity in any way and equal in value. This was covered in Genesis 1:27. It seems to me that people respond favorable to true masculinity when a man has a sense of self-respect as it challenges others to honor his sacrifices, not trivialize them like you did here.

  7. KB says:

    Great post, Matt. My husband feels the same way when watching men being made to look like total idiots on commercials and tv shows. I remember a commercial where the wife was going shopping and leaving the kids home with dad (babysitting – my favorite – as if a dad being with his own kids is babysitting) and when she got home the house was a total mess and the kids were too. Does that even happen in real life?

  8. Cheyenne says:

    Love this! I think I’m more bothered by this sort of portrayal of men than my husband is, and I suppose it’s just as well that he doesn’t get upset over it. I do, however, because the men in my life are not moronic deadbeat couch zombies, and men of their character are the ones that deserve airtime. If only!

  9. Ugh, I hate this thing so much! I’m sick of seeing commercials where time and time again the men are portrayed as bumbling idiots, and if their superior wives weren’t there they’d be in all manner of trouble. If the rolls were switched, our country would have an aneurysm. It’s so irritating.

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